Can an officer question a child without a parent or guardian’s consent or knowledge?  The short answer…yes they can. 

This is a scary situation for any parent to be in and not know where their child is at or that their child is being questioned by the police.  A parent’s initial instinct is to protect their child.  If the child is a suspect in a crime or delinquency act, the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act 18 USC § 5033 has case law and statutes in place to protect the child.  The Federal Delinquency Act states in pertinent part that if a child is taken into custody, the arresting officer has to read the child a version of the Miranda Rights that is understandable to the child.  The officer has to immediately notify the Attorney General and has to immediately notify the child’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).  However, case law says that once a child is placed in custody, the arresting officer simply has to “make a good faith effort to notify the juvenile’s parents” of the arrest of their child and what the child is being charged with.  There are several issues that may arise with the child’s confession, but the short answer is the police do not need a parent or guardian’s consent to arrest and interview a child.       

A police officer arrests and handcuffs a young male teen.

If the minor child is a victim or witness to a crime, the police can also question the child without notifying the parent or guardian.  The police will typically notify the school where the child is located and question the child at the school.  If the child is removed from the school by the police, the police will notify the Department of Child Safety (“DCS”), who in turn will notify the parent or guardian.  However, the police do not have to obtain the parent or guardian’s consent before speaking with the child.  For example, if a child reported to the school that their parent or guardian is abusing them, the police would not go to the parent or guardian and ask, “can I speak to your child about the abuse you are committing on the child?”  The parent or guardian would immediately say “NO!”  Therefore, the police would never be able to properly investigate any child abuse allegations against a parent or guardian.   

The best thing to do is discuss police interviews with a child.  Let your child know they are safe to speak with you and they should always ask for a parent or attorney if they are suspected of doing something wrong. 

Dodge & Vega PLC, protects the innocent and will fight for your child’s rights in a delinquency/criminal matter.  Contact our office for a free 30 minute consult to find out how we can protect your child.   

-Ben Dodge, Esq.,

Founder – Managing Partner, Trial Attorney

Ben Dodge

Founder – Managing Partner, Trial Attorney

Dodge & Vega Trial Law Practice Areas:

If you have Netflix, you may have seen the series called Outer Banks.  I recently recalled seeing TMZ report that one of the stars on this series was arrested for attacking an emergency room staff member.  Without going into detail about what he did or did not do, if this alleged attack happened in Arizona, he would be facing a felony offense.  Specifically, under A.R.S. §13-1204(A)(8)(e) indicates that if a person assaults a healthcare worker in the course of their duties and knows the alleged victim is a healthcare worker, then the person could be facing Aggravated Assault, which would be a class 6 felony. 

Handcuffs Assault – Arrested

However, there is a caveat to this offense and that is the person may not be held responsible if the person who committed the alleged assault is seriously mentally ill or is suffering from a mental disability.  A person charged with a class 6 felony, and is a first-time offender, may be eligible for probation and faces incarceration in prison for .33 years up to 2 years in probation and can be placed on probation for up to 3 years.  If the Outer Banks star was arrested in Arizona, and depending on the circumstances, he could be facing a prison sentence of up to 2 years.  But if the Outer Banks star was in a mental health crisis, he may not be charged or if he did not realize this emergency room staff member was a healthcare worker, then again he may not face any charges.  The problem is the State will charge him and then let his defense attorney make the arguments to the judge. 

If you or someone you know suffers from mental health issues, it’s important to make sure they are represented by a criminal defense attorney who knows how to defend their clients and understands the laws to protect those with mental health disabilities.  Call Dodge & Vega for a free consultation with a knowledgeable specialist who will work to defend your rights.

-Ben Dodge, Esq.,

Founder – Managing Partner, Dodge & Vega Lead Trial Attorney

Ben Dodge

Teen on teen crimes are on the rise in Gilbert.  I’m sure you have heard of the Gilbert Goons and other teen attacks occurring in Gilbert recently.  Specifically, there were three (3) teens charged with aggravated assault for a fight that occurred in a Gilbert parking garage at an In-N-Out restaurant and the Gilbert Police Chief confirmed during a recent press conference that his department has arrested a total of twenty-five (25) other teens for other violent crimes in Gilbert. 

Teenage Crime – Gilbert Goons

So what are the three (3) teens actually facing?  All three teens, Kyler Renner, Gage Garrison and Jack Woods are facing one charge of aggravated assault, a class 6 felony and Mr. Woods is also facing an additional charge of aggravated assault, a class 3 felony.  It is important to note that Mr. Woods is merely 17 years old; however, the State has decided to charge him as an adult in these matters.  A felony of any sort sounds scary and leads people to think that the teens are going to receive a prison sentence.  However, for first offenders, this is often not the case and usually do not serve any jail or prison time at all.  If this is truly the first time these teens have been trouble and they have no criminal history, then Mr. Renner and Mr. Garrison are more than likely facing supervised probation of up to 3 years.  But, if the State Prosecutor wanted to push for jail or even prison time then these two particular teens, could face at a range of .33 years up to 2 years in prison.  Mr. Woods faces the most egregious of the counts since he is facing not only this same sentence but is also facing an additional range of 2 years up to 8.75 years in prison and up to 5 years of probation for his class 3 felony offense. 

Without opining on whether or not these teens are guilty or not guilty, the jail/prison time each of these teens face are severe and will have a lasting effect on their entire lives from being able to go to college, to obtaining employment once they are potentially released from prison or jail and not to mention what they will face should they go to jail or prison as they will undoubtedly be housed with more serious criminal offenders.         

-Ben Dodge, Esq.,

Founder – Managing Partner, Dodge & Vega Lead Trial Attorney

Ben Dodge

Both an order of protection and injunction against harassment are helpful tools of personal protection for you and your children. Knowing the difference and when to use one of them is crucial.

Injunction against Harassment vs Order of Protection

An Order of Protection is a court order to seek protection from a person you live with, now or in the past, or is an immediate family member. It will prohibit a person from coming near a home, a work site, schools or any locations listed on the court order. It cannot guarantee your safety or change custody or visitation orders, but it does provide you with legal recourse for two years if the person served violates that order.

If you are needing to seek protection from a person other than someone you live with, a person you have no relationship with, or a current or former non-family member, you can seek an Injunction Against Harassment. This court order can be issued for individuals and workplaces, and there must be acts of harassment in the last year, and at least two specific acts of harassment committed.

These petitions can be reviewed by any court in the state of Arizona, and are typically seen by a judge and ruled on the same day.

If the Courts are closed, a Law Enforcement Officer can help you get an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) which will last until the end of the next court day so you have time to file a regular Order of Protection.

If you are granted an Order of Protection or Injunction Against Harassment, the defendant must be served before it becomes valid. In the case of an Order of Protection – the agency closest to the defendant’s address will serve them at no charge. For an Injunction Against Harassment – you must arrange for service. Don’t fall into the trap believing that since you filed it, and the judge granted it that you are now all set. You MUST serve the person the order before it becomes legally valid.

There is no charge if the injunction is based on sexual violence, and if you are unable to pay the fee, you can ask the court for a deferral or waiver.

Not all requests are granted. Some may require a hearing with the person you are seeking protection from before a judge issues the order. Carefully file your petition and application for such an order is critical.

These cases can be extremely sensitive and even complicated to get a judge to agree with you and sign the order. Call us and our qualified Arizona family law trial attorneys can help you.

-Ben Dodge, Esq.,

Founder – Managing Partner

Ben Dodge

You’re out with your friends having a great time and you are the designated driver.  You are close to your house when you notice the red and blue lights behind you, so you immediately pull over.   

DUI Arrest

What do you do?  First, do not panic!  Stay calm.  Easy right?  You will want to follow the officer’s instructions and provide him/her with your driver’s license, registration and insurance.  Be polite to the officer and do not give him any reason to believe you are doing anything other than simply driving home.  The officer will ask if you have been drinking, DO NOT LIE!  Everyone tells the officer they have only had 1 or 2 drinks.  You can simply answer that you do not answer questions.  Be sure to still be polite when saying this.  If you did not drink then tell them you did not drink and why, i.e., because you were the designated driver.  He or she will ask you step out of the vehicle and perform some field sobriety tests such as the walk and turn, the finger to nose test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus and the finger count.  There is a huge misconception that you must perform the field sobriety tests, you DO NOT!  This is more ammunition for the officer to arrest you and to show that you were impaired at the time you were driving.  You can kindly tell him that you do not submit to tests, but you would submit to any chemical tests he or she requests.

You also do not have to blow into their portable breath test, which is the handheld machine they carry with them.  However, if the officer requests that you submit to a chemical test such as a blood draw or to blow into the intoxilyzer machine, DO IT!  If you refuse to allow them to withdraw your blood or refuse to blow into the intoxilyzer, the officer will get a search warrant, obtain the blood without your consent and you will lose your license for 1 year. 

If you get stopped for a DUI, stay calm, be polite and know what your rights.  At any time you can request to speak with a qualified Arizona DUI Lawyer, and you should. Call us and we can help.

-Ben Dodge, Esq.,

Founder – Managing Partner

Ben Dodge

Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty!  A Michigan jury recently found a parent of a school shooter guilty of 4 counts of involuntary manslaughter when her son, who was 15 at the time of the shooting, opened fire at a school, killing 4 students. 

This case has caused an uproar as it is the first of its kind that a parent is being prosecuted for the killings committed by their child.  The Michigan jury found Jennifer Crumbley guilty after listening to the evidence and determined that Jennifer provided her son a gun, taught the son how to use the gun, was the last parent to handle the gun, and did nothing to alert the school that her son may have a gun after she was called to the school after disturbing images were discovered by school officials, the morning of the shooting.  Moreover, testimony was provided that Jennifer was aware of her son’s mental health issues and failed to seek treatment for her son.   

Although parents can typically be held responsible for the actions of their children, this is the first case that holds a parent responsible for the killings committed by their child.  A parent in Arizona could face similar charges if this had occurred in Arizona and not in Michigan.  Pursuant to A.R.S. § 13-1103, Manslaughter, a Class 2 Felony, can be caused by “recklessly causing the death of another person.”  A person convicted of a Class 2 Felony faces a range of 3-12.5 years in prison for each offense. 

Food for thought:  This case lends itself to make this author wonder if the State is now interfering in a parent’s constitutional rights on how to raise their child.  If Jennifer had sought treatment for her son, would this be a different result? 

However, there is the other side to this argument to ask yourself what about the innocent victims and their families.  Shouldn’t parents who provide deadly weapons to their minor children be held responsible for what their child does with that gun while they are under 18 years of age? 

Regardless, there is no simple answer to these questions and in the end a community tragically loss 4 children. 

If you find yourself facing criminal charges and you need to know your rights, Dodge & Vega is willing to defend your rights.  We offer free 30 minute consultations with a knowledgeable and experienced trial lawyer.

-Ben Dodge